The Feathered Crowds

During my last visit to the beach, I came upon some impressive flocks of birds. There were some small, some large—both the birds and the great groups they huddled in. White, greys, blacks, tans, and little specks of orange clustered together and flitted about.

I originally planned for this to be a short visit. The original intent for the trip was exercise, so that meant walking to the beach and then heading straight back, a brisk pace while making my way up and down some coastal hills. However, the large crowds of feathered friends stopped me in my tracks. I know this tends to be a hyperbole or figure of speech, but in this case, this was a literal description of my actions. At one point, I got down on the sand, bringing my eyes closer to the level of a particular flock. I stealthily withdrew my camera from my bag and snapped a few shots. Hypnotized by their little movements, I put the lens down and stared at the birds and their daily rituals. After awhile, I realized that I needed to capture more than tiny moments frozen in time. I might be able to get some amazing video footage if I got closer than my current several-hundred-foot distance.

So I crept closer, waddling my way over from my lowered height. (I wonder what the birds thought of me.) Once I judged I was close enough to see the individual birds with my lens zoomed all the way out, and once my legs were too tired to continue their funny movements, I settled on my haunches and recorded away. From the huddled mass to the individual runner, I couldn’t capture enough. I ended up filling my memory card to capacity. I must have taken at least 10 separate videos crouching there. When I got home and examined my treasure, my room was happily filled with the stirrings of those tiny sea birds.

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